A Step-by-Step Checklist for Travellers Returning to the Road

For travellers returning to the road amidst the recovery stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, new and changing guidelines have created a distinctly different business travel experience. While some of these restrictions may present an initial learning curve to adjust to, these changes will improve the overall well-being and safety of travellers in the long-term.

But where do you start and how you do know what processes have changed? Below we’ve compiled a step-by-step checklist to walk you through the new travel journey and provide you with the information you need to travel smart and stay safe.

Booking Your Travel

Booking through authorized channels and following the protocol established in company policy has never been more important. Companies need to know where employees are, and employees must be able to communicate while on the road. When you begin the process of planning your travel, make sure you do the following:

  • Book only through authorized channels and approved vendors
  • Consult with your travel manager and/or travel management company (TMC) to understand requirements
  • Verify if quarantine (both domestic and international) is required for your travel
  • Understand visa requirements and border restrictions that may impact your travel
  • Prioritize using preferred partners that offer flexible cancellation policies
  • Access the latest COVID-19 information to assess the risk level of your destination
  • Confirm your medical insurance coverage and health needs
  • Use mobile check-in when possible to avoid person-to-person contact

Packing Essentials

The standards for personal protection and sanitation have increased as a result of COVID-19. For both your health and the health of others you may come into contact with, include these items in your carry-on luggage:

  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizer (TSA and CATSA allow up to 12 oz/355 ml)
  • Additional protective face coverings (most parts of the travel journey will require you wear a mask)
  • Medical card indicating any underlying health conditions and necessary medication/allergies
  • Anti-bacterial wipes for sanitizing your phone, arm rests, door handles and other high-touch surfaces
  • Regular hygiene supplies (toothpaste, mouthwash, etc.)
  • Refillable water bottle to help keep you hydrated and healthy

Getting Around

Whether taking a 20-minute ride to the airport or renting a car for a cross-country road trip, you will need to evaluate the safest and most efficient way to get around. When planning your ground transportation, adhere to these best practices:

  • Avoid sharing rides and public transportation when possible
  • Check with rental car companies to verify their sanitation policies
  • Confirm with drivers what cleaning measures have been taken when entering the car
  • Wear a mask throughout the journey if using a car service
  • Sanitize or wash your hands for at least 20 seconds before entering and after exiting the car
  • Check if public restroom access is reduced, designated rest areas will likely remain open

At the Airport

The most visible differences of changes to the travel journey are apparent at the airport, including socially distanced lines, sanitation stations, and modified screening protocol. Plan for the following:

  • Arrive earlier than normal to account for changes in the screening and boarding processes
  • Wear a mask both at the airport and for the duration of your flight (you may be asked to remove it briefly for CATSA to verify your identity)
  • Check-in on your mobile device and use an E-boarding pass when possible
  • Abide by social distancing requirements for lines and seating areas
  • Confirm what inflight services will be offered to determine if you need to bring snacks or refill your water bottle after security
  • Verify if restaurants and airline lounges are open and what sanitation measures are being implemented
  • Understand that temperature checks may be required and you may be denied boarding if you register a fever (guidelines vary, but 100°F/38°C is a general cutoff)
  • Expect changes to flight procedures, such as longer boarding times, empty middle seats, and reduced service from flight attendants
  • Keep in mind for business or first-class passengers that inflight meal services may be reduced and forward lavatories may be reserved for crew members only
  • Know that boarding order may be adjusted to promote social distancing (such as back to front)


Hotels have invested in mobile technology and forged new sanitation partnerships to prepare for the influx of travellers returning to the road. To increase the comfort and safety of your stay, observe these guidelines:

  • Avoid home rentals and alternative lodging options without clear sanitation protocol
  • Confirm with preferred hotels to verify health and hygiene measures
  • Use the mobile check-in option if available
  • Wear a mask when possible in public spaces
  • Expect changes to food services and onsite amenities, including reduced restaurant hours, suspension of breakfast buffets, and modified or suspended spa services
  • Check to see if you need to request housekeeping as services may be reduced
  • Make restaurant reservations in advance when possible to account for facility occupancy limits

Stay Informed

In addition to using this checklist, you can also access our online resource hub to get the latest information and updates throughout your trip. Most importantly, if you are displaying COVID-19 symptoms or feeling unwell, reschedule your travel plans for a later date.

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